Whitechapel Art Plaster’s team of solid lime plasterers were recently involved in the restoration team at Port Sunlight. Port Sunlight is a model village, located at Wirral, Merseyside but within the historic boundary of Cheshire. Back in 2017, a gas explosion caused several buildings in the model village to collapse.
Whitechapel Art Plaster carried out the remediation works of the original lath and plaster ceilings, lath and plaster partitions together with solid lime plaster to exposed brickwork. Substrates were sympathetically reinstated, using products and mixes similar to the original building materials.
The Grade 2 restriction on the buildings and monuments at Port Sunlight meant that the buildings and their interiors must be preserved. Port Sunlight is an important facet of heritage and conservation work and using similar materials would allow the buildings to function as originally intended. Compatibility was crucial to enable the buildings to move and breath, this is achieved by using lath, lime and plaster.
SO WHAT IS LATH AND PLASTER AND WHY USE IT?
Traditional timber lath are commonly made from oak or chestnut and fixed by hand. It offers a larger surface area for lime plasters to adhere to, making it appropriate for ceiling repairs. lime plaster is impressed into the spaces filling the inside of the wall to form keys that hold the plaster in place. 3 coats of plaster are applied in total.
If buildings are of historic importance, this method is adopted to preserve the fabric of the property. It has great ability to move sympathetically with the building and stabilise the internal humidity of a building.
Lime plastering onto laths allows moisture to be absorbed and released, making it breathable to prevent cracking. Once set it will give durability throughout the years to come.